[Image: Michel Bayard].
Singing Bridges seeks to record, using contact microphones, the sounds of various bridges: stressed cables, rumbling footplates, geotechnical strain.
It’s all about playing “stay-cabled and suspension bridges as musical instruments.”
The artist’s own justification for the project leaves a bit to be desired – claiming it has something to do with global information flow and Indra’s Net – but the musicalization of urban infrastructure is something that totally fascinates me, and it’s popped up on BLDGBLOG before.
If we can go back to Coleridge for a second, and imagine him striding across the retractable bridges of Chicago, iPod in hand, plugging himself into the audial foundations of the city, the trembling of concrete and iron, how every atom vibrates, Aeolian, strummed by the world; or Coleridge wandering London, stepping onto the Thames foreshore, microphones ready, pushing away sand to record the passing of subterranean trains (or whalesong, for that matter); or, yet again, perhaps somewhere in the scoured volcanism of rural Iceland, contact mics taped down on the surface of the earth, Coleridge stands listening to the Atlantic expand, every subtle rumble of tectonic plates spreading; then the bridges of the world, specifically built for how they sound, humming in the wind, can join in – and it’s worth considering that the vibrations of a bridge’s pillars might record themselves in patterns in the subsurface soil, small figures of agitation inscribed into the earth, and that those might fossilize, and in a million years you’ll have a musical score hardened into rock, sandstone evidence of how the earth once sounded, back then, which is now: a planet covered with bridges, vibrating in the wind.
(Singing Bridges spotted at Ruairi Glynn’s excellent Interactive Architecture dot Org).